This year, IKEA’s coveted Winter collection is inspired by the rugged beauty of Iceland. The island nation experiences long, dark winters with only four to five hours of sunlight per day, which means Icelanders spend a lot of time indoors. They’ve even coined the term “gluggaveður,” which roughly translates to “window-weather” — that moment when the softly falling snow catches your eye, but then you step outside and realize how truly unforgiving winter can be.
The latest Winter collection is intended to make your home a “more beautiful, kinder place,” with soft textures, entertaining-ready dinnerware, festive decor and ambient lighting. We pored over the creatively-styled images to find inspiration for our own holiday homes, and came up with these 12 elegant and affordable decorating ideas.
1. Pile on cozy throws and pillows
When the temperature dips and seasonal affective disorder kicks in, you can never have enough soft, cozy textiles lying around the house. Here, the pillow patterns are reminiscent of Icelandic wool sweaters, known as “lopapeysa.”
2. Add ambiance with candlelight
Overhead lighting can be quite harsh during the winter months, but the radiant glow of candles can make your home feel warm and inviting. In addition to these geometric block candles, IKEA offers candelabras, tea light holders, lanterns and chandeliers to brighten up your interiors.
3. Decorate with pine boughs
Why spend money on holiday decor when you can forage in your own backyard? Arrange pine boughs in a tall vase, and decorate them with extra ornaments. If you live in a cramped apartment or you’re heading out of town for the holidays, you could even use it as a Christmas tree alternative.
4. Embrace jultomten, a mythological creature from Scandinavian folklore
A survey from 1998 found that 54.4 percent of Icelanders believe in elves. Bring a bit of magic to your holiday decor with a jultomte, a gnome-like character that delivers presents to children on Christmas Eve. While the jultomten is of Swedish origin, Iceland has its own version of the mythological creatures, known as the Yule Lads.
5. Integrate LED accent lighting
Lighting is an integral aspect of holiday decor, and nowadays there are so many options. Mixing and matching light sources — an LED light chain, LED chandeliers, and a three prong candlestick — gives the room dimension and intrigue. There’s no need to strive for perfection, here you can see the string lights puddle onto the floor, giving the space a relaxed, casual vibe.
6. Opt for monochrome Christmas tree decorations
While we’re not suggesting you hang your Christmas tree from the ceiling (that is some Kris Jenner-level sh*t), adopting a new color palette is a fun way to change up the look of your holiday decor. Here, minimal white ornaments contrast beautifully against dark green pine needles.
7. Upgrade your tablescape with fresh greenery
Have we mentioned that nature is full of free holiday decor? If you’re too proud to pull over on the side of the road to cut down some red berries, you can always purchase a bundle from your local florist. You can also integrate a few cedar sprigs to really make your table setting pop with color.
8. Store or gift homemade treats in festive tins
Holiday cookies and treat are the perfect gift for coworkers, your building’s doorman, the dog walker…or when someone surprises you with a gift and you’re expected to return the gesture. Package homemade baked goods in decorative tins, like these from the Winter collection, available in sets of three.
9. Personalize a winter wreath
10. Count down to Christmas with a gift box advent calendar
Why settle for cheap, tasteless chocolate when you can design your own advent calendar? Fill these 24 gift boxes with candy or tiny knick knacks, and hang them from a sturdy branch.
11. Add sparkle and shine with a temporary chandelier
These iridescent chandeliers, which IKEA describes as “party hats for your living room,” are festive enough to be displayed until the New Year. If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, the Winter collection also includes a hanging chandelier that can accommodate seven candles and a few decorative touches.
12. Create comfortable seating for guests
When you’re hosting a holiday party, it’s often a challenge to scrounge up enough seats for your guests. Sure, you could offer them a folding chair or a stool, but will it be comfortable enough to last the night? IKEA suggests the do-it-yourself dining chair approach — here, they’ve placed a throw pillow on top of a stool, and secured it using a soft cotton blanket and some ribbon. You could also drape a faux-sheepskin rug across a dining bench to add texture and warmth.